I am very interested in the report that Cardinal Newman is to be beatified. There is no doubt, I am sure, that the result of the investigation will be favourable. I have been hoping for this for very many years and I am tempted to say "At last!" which, ironically enough, is the title of a travel book by his great adversary, the Rev. Charles Kingsley.
Newman was a writer in the highest tradition of Latin and Greek classicism, and his noble and majestic prose has made his works known and revered throughout our civilisation that is to say until we fell on evil days and our universities began to turn away from our great heritage into barbaric and subtle speculations in the name of progress, and fell into the morass of intellectual snobbery.
I hope that his beatification will bring about a revival of interest in his works, for there is nothing our confused age needs more than the discipline of his clear and courageous thought.
But Newnian is not being beatified because he was clever or because he was learned: nor because he was an acute psychologist or even because he was the greatest theologian of his age. Other men have had these qualities and no one has thought of beatifying them.
He will be raised to the altar of the Church because of his virtues. the greatest of which is in my opinion his deeply-founded 'honesty. Where the truth pointed, there he went, forcing his quivering sensibilities to face all obstacles, even the loss of friends he dearly loved and the odium of the shallow and unthinking.
When we read his "Apologia," we know what he thought of himself. When he is canonised we shall know what God thought of him. What we do not know, and I regret shall never know, is what consolations he had that enabled him to pursue his undeviating path. If he is eventually canonised he will be our English saint in the tradition of Aquinas and Anselm, and this last and great official recognition will be a demonstration once again that the Church is still a living body, able to produce yet another soul like those who have been honoured from far back in history. He wrote of the "Marks of the Church." one of which is holiness of life, not knowing that he himself was a living example. Let us recognise that his final glory is that he was an intellectual without pride how rare a thing!'
R. W. Twigg 2 Waterfall Mews, Ham Manor Caravan Park, Llantwit Major, Glamorgan.
In an age when it is increasingly recognised that ecological concern is vital to human survival, it seems churlish of Douglas Brown (December 28) to attribute paganism and tyranny to the harmless conifer.
Surely all trees from the Arctic to the Equator are the work of God. They should he used to celebrate Christmas together with the Cross, the Crib, and more realistic but less abstract forms of symbolism beloved by the Portuguese and other Latin peoples. Derek Abbott Victoria House, Rodmersham Green. Sittingbourne, Kent.